In front of a house located in this bedouin town in the North Sinai, a masked man sits next to his companions, each of whom are holding a weapon. The man proudly speaks about their "Death Squad," the name they have given to their armed civilian troop. The residents of the area call it Battalion 103.
"There are areas the Armed Forces cannot enter alone without collaborators among us. We are the ones who know the families and the geographical distribution of the tribes," says the masked man, who refuses to disclose his name or show his face. He fears retribution from Province of Sinai militants, who have assassinated other military collaborators.
"Our name is Death Squad because we face being killed by the Islamic State at any moment. But we have dedicated our lives to the nation and to the Armed Forces and are ready to welcome death at any moment," the masked man adds.
Death Squad appeared on the streets of Sheikh Zuwayed last year. With time, residents coined the name Battalion 103 to refer to the armed civilian groups, differentiating them from the Armed Forces, whose largest military base and operations in Arish are known as Battalion 101, and the Province of Sinai, which has declared its allegiance to ISIS and who have become known as Battalion 102.
The masked man asserts that his men are present all over Sheikh Zuwayed in "smaller groups, each of which consists of five individuals [who have] among them a leader who is the contact with an [Armed Forces] officer." The structure has been established to mediate between the civilian forces and the official military bureaucracy, according to the man, who states that the group "cannot deal with military leadership directly."
Read the full article: "Our Name Is Death Squad" — Egypt’s Civilian Militias Fighting ISIS In Sinai